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Kolie Moore is a cycling coach to athletes of all levels and disciplines. He has consulted for World Tour teams and world champion cyclists, and is a national championship medalist himself. In this interview, we discuss Kolie's approach to coaching, and go into detail on topics like testing protocols and how to use different overarching types of workouts (think endurance, threshold, and so on) in your training.
In this Episode you'll learn about:
- Kolie's training principles and approach to coaching
- Testing protocols, testing recommendations, and mistakes to avoid when it comes to testing
- The how, when and why of different types of workouts: endurance rides, tempo, sweet spot, and threshold rides, and high intensity intervals
- Periodisation and planning out a season
- Nutrition recommendations
- Strength training recommendations
- Advice for time-crunched athletes
- Kolie's top tips for self-coached athletes to improve their training effectiveness
- My name is Kolie Moore and I am a cycling coach (coaching all cycling disciplines except for BMX).
I have also done a lot of physiological modeling with WKO5.
Moreover, I run a podcast called Empirical Cycling (same name as my coaching business) where I dig quite deep into physiology and the background of different training principles.
Training and coaching philosophy
- I base my prescription of training from two different perspectives: ”top down” and ”bottom up”.
”Top down” is the macro perspective, I constantly evaluate how my athletes respond to a certain kind of training stimulus (for instance VO2max, threshold and volume) and take this into account for the future.
”Bottom up” is the micro/physiology/cellular level perspective, here I use my knowledge within exercise physiology, metabolism and biochemistry as a base for what training I prescribe.
I believe that combining these two perspectives when designing a training plan is very powerful.
- I probably use the same kind of tests/durations that most people do: 5s, 30s-1min, 3-5mins and 20mins-1h.
The power over these durations then form a power duration curve.
- I also use to argue for that cyclists need to be better self calibrated with their legs, which they can be by from time to time ignore the power meter.
Some athletes have been so accustomed to their power meters so that they totally have forgot about how the legs should feel as they are riding at their threshold (for instance).
Therefore, I try to encourage my athletes to do some training and all the tests blinded to power.
The why’s and how’s of different training types
- Endurance rides: These rides are really good for improving the numbers and functions of the mitochondrial, enhance fat oxidation and enhance the capillary network to the working muscles.
It is also a type of training that one can recover from very easy and quickly.
I use to argue that one should perform these rides based on RPE, effort should feel fairly comfortable at all times.
One could also incorporate stuff like cadence, sweet spot or threshold work or nutritional interventions (executing the ride with low glycogen stores) during or before endurance rides.
- Tempo/sweet spot/mid-zone rides: This is a really effective training zone for increasing metabolic processes, fatigue resistance and also for increasing fat oxidation as well as FTP.
It’s like the ”aerobic ceiling” (training you can do 100 % aerobically, even though you get a fairly large contribution from carbohydrates in this zone), and pushing the aerobic ceiling will also in time improve it.
Here I think one should aim to increase the time spent in the zone rather than increase power.
I think that one should maximum do 2-3 tempo/sweet spot/mid range rides per week, it’s probably hard to handle more than this from a fatigue/recovery point of view.
- Training above threshold: I have slightly mixed feelings about doing training in the VO2max zone or above the anaerobic threshold.
Work here does depend on a a fairly large anaerobic component, which you don’t want to rely too heavily on when you’re trying to improve someone’s aerobic system.
However, by reducing the rest between the intervals, like for instance doing 45s ”on” and 15s ”off”, one can target the aerobic system more than if one for instance would have 30s ”off”.
I also like to prescribe longer time trial like intervals, 2-6mins, at this intensity.
I would also like to state here that it is easy to improve someone’s VO2max by doing this kind of training, but that does not always translate to performance.
- I always periodize the training over a season very individually to the specific athlete, but in general one can say that during the build up to the season I try and work on the athlete’s weaknesses and improve what aspect that will probably generate the biggest improvements for that particular athlete, then as the target race approaches (4-8 weeks to the event), I focus on specificity and the training then looks more the same for all my athletes (given they target the same type of event of course).
- I use to recommend my athletes to eat plenty of good regular food and maybe focus a little extra on getting enough proteins.
I consider food and sleep probably to account for 99 % of the recovery process, so I really urge my athletes to fuel properly straight after sessions.
It’s also important to fuel during sessions (50-80g/h) in order not to dig too deep into the glycogen stores, which if they get depleted takes very long time to recover from.
- When it comes to fasted/low carbohydrate rides, this can be done in some situations, however, for most athletes at a maximum of one (maybe two) occasions per week.
I usually do this as morning rides pre or following a low carbohydrate breakfast, always at a very low/endurance ride intensity.
It’s also important to fuel well during these sessions as you don’t want to risk bonking in the middle of the ride.
- I think that most cyclists should do some kind of strength training for the purpose of bone density, this, however, does not have to be strength training but could be jogging, plyometric training or skipping rope (basically anything that stimulates bone growth).
- Otherwise, I do not really have any strong opinion in regards to strength training for performance benefits, for some it may seem to work, for others it doesn’t.
Training for time crunched athletes
- My main tips here would be to manage fatigue, the training should not add additional stress to your life.
Advice to self coached athletes
- Once again, fatigue management is crucial, many athletes are constantly too fatigued.
Hence, I would recommend self coached athletes to have some kind of objective measurement (like TSS, HRV etc.) that they can base their training on.
- Another great tip is to try and be very critical towards yourself and your coaching knowledge.
Rapid fire questions
- What is your favorite book, blog or resource related to endurance sports? I like your podcast the most out of all podcasts, otherwise I also like pubmed Google scholar and sci-hub (especially look at articles from the 1960-1980s).
- What is a personal habit that has helped you achieve success? Self doubt.
- Who is somebody in endurance sports that you look up to or have inspired you? Iggy Pop, he has obviously not anything to do with sports, but his way of addressing life (just ”going to go with it”) has inspired me throughout my whole life.
LINKS AND RESOURCES:
- Kolie's website
- Kolie's Twitter
- Kolie's Instagram
- The Empirical Cycling podcast
- The Physiology of FTP and New Testing Protocols - article by Kolie on Training Peaks
- Break Through Your Performance Plateau By Increasing Training Density - article by Kolie on Training Peaks
- You’re Training Too Hard for Criteriums—Here’s Why - article by Kolie on Training Peaks
- All Cycling-related episodes on That Triathlon Show